Legends of Belariath
Locations. Yes we do have a lot of those but what do we mean? We mean the general day to day need to know places where a wily cat girl or Drak sen can go buy a hat or a spiffy new toy for his slave or perhaps even some of those barely-there panties. Places that fill a void within a character's life and style. What would a world be without locations upon a map to visit? From Inns to shops and off to Valencia. As well as the Palace and the large looming towers of Unigo to Umbara. From where to buy a horse to where to buy furniture for that new home you just had made. They don't come furnished you know! You didn't? Well, now you do. From instruments to the Imperial slave authority you not only need to know where these locations are, but as well what they hold of interest to you. What follows is an in-depth description of what and where everything is and offers and don't forget to take in the colorful array of sweets to sooth any savage beast. Well, we hope so anyway.
So what will you do when you've finished shopping? Go for a drink at the Inn? Maybe visit the baths for some soapy fun with one of their slaves. Or perhaps you'll want to try out that shiny new sword by sparring in the Arena? Of course, that may also lead to you needing the services of a healer, but luckily we have a location for just about every occasion!
These include all that is outside and available to the public or of which the public should have knowledge, including the Palace of Stormbringer himself, the Forest and other attractions that a citizen of the empire has a need to know.
The Bank in Belariath is not a place that gains profit by collecting interest from what it holds for others. Rather, trust the man behind the counter, behind the curtain of thick steel bars that protect him from you… or maybe you from him. This is where you take your hard earned mehrials and stash them away from the greedy at heart or simply to save up for that house or armor you've always wanted. Deposit or withdraw, you get to chose but at least here its safe. Isn't it?
This place is run by a few professional Healers who help take in those of the sick and wounded and as well give other healers a chance to learn new skills. For a small fee of course depending on the one teaching you. A few cots are set up, herbal remedies and of course the soft but knowledgeable touch of the Healers themselves. Here is also maintained a library containing extensive knowledge about healing techniques and the plant lore which relates to them.
This organization regulates the ownership of slaves within the empire. It provides a registry of slaves, licenses slavers, arranges public auctions, oversees training, and arbitrates disputes and when necessary initiates penalties against owners who are unable to control their property. This is where you bring that Torian you've always wanted to establish your personal ownership and in the eyes of the Empire, she's yours, lock stock and barrel. It's not all fun and games of course, sometimes the chase is the most exciting thing you could do.
For miles around the Lonely Inn and the nearby town of Nanthalion, there is forest. Within this forest come and go all of the resident and visitors of this place. Many take the well-known paths or roads, and know better than to wander from its narrow, invisible lines of protection. Those with powerful means to protect themselves or with an appetite for endangerment take the other routes.
Travel the isolated trails between settlements, make your way through the dark, seemingly endless forests, create a small bubble of life when you camp out on one of the plains that stretch from one horizon to the other, and sooner or later you will begin to wish for some of the warmth that comes only from having others around you and having a roof over your head. Turn a corner and there is a place where several paths cross. Others use these trails; human and elf, Minotaur and Magi, as they move across the surface of Belariath on their journeys to trade or to raid. And sitting besides that crossing of the ways, set back in a large clearing in the forest, there is the Lonely Inn. Here they offer food and drink, a welcoming Troll cook and an Ogress named Fugly that's more then willing to take your order. Well, we can all hope that is. Within the Inn is more a rustic setting and more fights and blood on the floor then you care to remember. Come on in, sit for a while and watch the colorful array of characters that come in and out and rent a room or even snore in front of the hearth and its welcoming crackle from the fire.
From a distance, you see it. Rising over the tops of the trees, the round sparsely decorated lip of the white stone Arena you have heard mention of far and wide. As you near it, it disappears behind a copse of tall trees. It isn't until you are nearer that you realize the vast scope of this large structure. Yes, here is where spars to life threatening battles are fought. Need to learn how to wield that blade? Go to the Arena they'll tell you. Have a dispute you want to settle? Maybe you wish to run an event of the mighty and willful or the magically inclined. Here with its many bleachers and offering of a sandy ground is where you want to be.
Better known as Unigo. Upon the plains to the northeast of the town of Nanthalion, about five miles from the town, a Tower arises from the mists in a forest clearing. This edifice appears ancient, its rough stone structure having stood here for centuries. The style of the Tower harkens back to bygone days - it is roughly built and from outward appearances, its architecture is that of several hundred years in the past - broad based, and gradually narrowing as it raises perhaps eight stories to the crenellations of its fortress styled roof.
Dark as night they say, reaching well above the trees. A brother to Unigo but perhaps with a more sinister feel. Established by the sweat of the common people and given a lovely library and practice rooms, this new Tower cultivates those of a darker art in magic's. Necromancers may find this far more to their liking than Unigo. Pyromancers with their chaotic ways and perhaps even the darker minded Warrior Mages of our time. There's more to meet the eye within this tower then just the darker arts of learning. But one thing is certain, your brief visit or even a day long sojourn will not leave you wanting in knowledge.
First there was the Lonely Inn. Built at a crossroads to serve travellers, it stood there for generations, growing both in fame and in size. Gradually others moved into the area, creating businesses, building towers and cultivating the land in and around it until it became the center of commerce within the Empire. Some came to earn a living servicing the Inn or it's patrons. Others intended to travel further but just stuck there.
Valencia is a relatively new realm, though still older than the Empire by far. Their bards and scholars indicate that Valencia was founded by refugees and ex-soldiers fleeing a war long ago to the South. Whatever it was that these masses were fleeing, it never found them here. Once, the Chasm stretched all the way into the valley, allowing easy entrance. This is how the the locals found their way into the valley itself. They found the valley entirely uninhabited and the refugees settled down to rebuild what they'd lost. The former soldiers, however, were not so ready. They still feared their foes and feared being caught unready, so Northkeep and Southkeep were constructed over a generation's time. It was made easier with the help of Gaea's Daughters, a sisterhood of Earth Mages.
Steep mountains, passes hidden by stone within shadows and caves that give way to rolling hills and sweet swaying valleys. The North Eastern territories are a rich and near archaic history that was founded by the unknown and yet made profitable by those with vision and religious from those that understood what was steeped in tradition and spirit should be praised. Thick forests to the majestic breeding grounds of those small cousins to the dragons, the Mephos. These are the North Eastern lands, rugged and beautiful and often far colder a climate which often exudes a hardier breed of human races.
The lands to the south, both within and beyond the Ilifrian Empire, are wrought with dangers that come from the harsh desert climate as well as those who inhabit it. Past lush forests that dominate most of the northern hemisphere of the continent, beyond arid plains and plateau’s. These lands are not as fertile as the river rich systems to the west and north; although attempts have been made, they have become lands more suited to nomadic and savage people, who work not to tame the land, but to survive it.
This long and yet lone standing erected bit of deck is made only to serve the footsteps of slaves and the ISA officials for the selling of slaves themselves to eager owners. The slave herself is set upon this long plank like structure and turned slowly for all to get a good view. Any demeanor good or bad is established and then haggling of those interested begins.
To call it a palace is to give far too grand an impression. Not even a respectable castle, the structure within the Imperial Woods comprises just three modestly sized buildings. Fronting them is Stormbringer's home and the place where he receives guests. No more than a reasonably sized manor house built of the rough stone so prevalent in Nanthalion, it presents an obvious symbol of the newness of his empire. And perhaps it's potential instability too; the heavy wooden doors are studded and banded with iron, while such windows as there are on the ground floor comprise no more than arrow slits. Above that level the building looks rather more hospitable though, with larger shuttered windows on the two remaining story's of his home and even some minor embellishments such as carvings. Above all, on the low-pitched, crenellated roof, his standard floats to add a touch of color.
Nothing is more imposing then seeing this one story one basement level building than a thief or a criminal brought to its L shaped folds to await not only judgment but sentencing as well. Its cells are lined with a hint of magic to keep the more powerful in line and its long meeting hall table seems formidable to one that must sit at it to give a report. Here are the main quarters to the Emperors Imperial Guards. An ostensive bunch of warriors to elemental mages one will never find but one thing is certain; they serve their Emperor first and everyone else, not at all.
After a brisk walk through the forest immediately south of the Lonely Inn and breaking through some shrubbery at the lip of the clearing, the Bath House doesn't appear to be the quaint structure you had in mind. The serving wench had clued that there was a lot of stone and a lot of water apart of the communal spa. This was something completely different. The building radiated relaxation, even from this distance. The name speaks for itself, here is where public baths are on display and for a few mehrial and copper you can rent yourself a private bathing area. Towels and scented soaps are offered here as well as the comfort of steam rising and the warmth provided. A lovely relaxing environment. Or... is it? One never knows.
Everyone likes to have that feeling of steam running along flesh, of easing back upon a hard wooden seat and soaking up the warmth that accompanies one within this small establishment. Its only a few mehrial to enter and after all, one never knows what you might find among the steam.
It may seem somewhat out of place in such a rough and ready place as the empire, but even here people appreciate finely crafted items and the entertainment provided by a bard.
Unlike many other places, thieving is still considered a valid way to make a living on Belariath. Not that thieves are well-liked of course, especially by their victims. But it does not have the same social stigma as could be found on Earth for example. Still, no one likes to have their possessions or money stolen, so the actual operation of thieves is regulated as to how and what they can do.
Thallis is the main port of the Empire and a center of trade and shipbuilding. It is located south of Nanthalion and the High Forest, right where the river it's named after empties into the western sea.
The Order of the Unspoken is a "guild" of assassins employed by whoever is able to hire them